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Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program!

Dear parents,

We are pleased to share that the Calhoun County School District is participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program!

The Healthy Schools Program is an evidence-based initiative that supports our efforts to implement healthier policies and practices.  Research shows a strong link between a young person’s practice of healthy habits, including a good diet and regular physical activity, and an improvement in their overall life outcomes.

By participating, our school is creating a healthier generation where students, teachers, and staff eat better and move more.

If you would like to learn more or have any questions, please contact Whittaker Williams at, Office of Health and Nutrition, 125 Herlong Ave, St. Matthews, SC 29135.

Thank you for making our schools a place where students can build the Healthy Future they deserve!

Together, we succeed.





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Tips to Make a Diabetic-Friendly Salad

Size Up Salad Bar Serving Spoons

Most spoons and tongs in salad bar ingredient containers hold 2 tablespoons, so you can count as you dish them up. Smaller spoons found in toppings such as nuts and sunflower seeds hold about 1-1/2 teaspoons, which is enough to add crunch without excess calories.

Sugar snap peas cost 50 percent less on a salad bar than regular retail. Eating these veggies raw, rather than cooked, preserves their abundant vitamin C and B vitamins.

Fill Up on Dark Leafy Greens

The bottom half of a standard salad bar carryout container holds 4 cups of salad greens (loosely packed). A cup of lettuce or spinach has just 1-2 grams of carbohydrate and fewer than 10 calories, yet its bulk helps fill you up. Go with the darker greens -- they're more nutritious.

Pumpkin seeds cost 27 percent less on a salad bar than regular retail. Just 1/4 cup packs 10 grams of protein and 25 percent of daily iron needs.

Limit Dressing to 1 Tablespoon per 2 Cups Salad

Most salad dressing ladles hold 1-2 tablespoons. Spoon dressing into a small paper condiment cup, which typically holds 2 tablespoons. Beware of salad dressing ramekins and disposable dressing containers, which may hold as much as 4-8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup).

Seek alternatives to prepared salad dressing. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a few splashes of vinegar are two dressing alternatives that are very low in calories and sodium. Many salad bars also offer olive oil, so you can mix a bit of it with vinegar to make your own vinaigrette. Just know that every teaspoon of oil you use contains 40 calories.

Include a High-Protein Topping

Salad will satisfy hunger longer if it includes a good source of protein, such as grilled chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, beans, or shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Tuna salad, ham, or cottage cheese will add protein as well, but plan for the extra fat and sodium if you choose any of these options.

Thank a Teacher!
Thank a Teacher!
It's Teacher Appreciation Week!




Healthier Generations
Healthier Generations
New Video Series

Nutrition in Schools


How do I find out what is being served in my child’s school cafeteria?


Parents: Learn About Your School Meal Program

How do I find out what is being served in my child’s school cafeteria?

  • Review the cafeteria menu with your child. Menus often list alternate choices, such as entrée salads and sandwiches, available to students who don’t care for the daily special. Ask your child about the fruit and vegetable choices offered alongside each meal and encourage them to try new menu items.
  • Visit your school district website for more details. Many school nutrition departments have a web page listing ingredients, nutritional facts, allergen information and more.
  • Have lunch with your child in the school cafeteria. Check with the principal or cafeteria manager first regarding visitor policies. See for yourself how school meals look, smell and taste. Be sure to ask questions about how the food was prepared—you may be surprised to learn that many of the traditional favorites are now made with whole grains, less fat and sodium.

Who should I contact with questions/concerns about the school cafeteria menu?

  • For information about menu items, contact the school cafeteria manager, who can discuss everything from meal preparation methods to waiting time in line.
  • For more detailed questions, the cafeteria manager may refer you to the nutrition director who oversees cafeteria operations, procurement and menu planning for the entire school district.
  • In most cases, the cafeteria manager and nutrition director do not manage vending machines or snack bars located outside the cafeteria. Contact your school principal for more information on these food choices. The principal can also address concerns about the lunch period schedule.
  • Don’t forget to ask your teacher about classroom policies regarding food rewards and items served during classroom parties.

How can I get involved in my child’s school meal program?

  • Ask the cafeteria manager and principal about volunteer opportunities in your school cafeteria or school garden. Some schools request parent volunteers to help usher students through the lunch line and encourage them to try their fruits and vegetables.
  • Many school districts have a wellness committee comprised of community volunteers to help establish and update district nutrition and physical activity policies. These local wellness policies can impact everything from the choices available in vending machines to the amount of time each week for PE.
  • Organize a National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day event at your school. Each October, as part of National School Lunch Week, SNA teams up with KIWI magazine to encourage parents to join their children for lunch in the cafeteria. The event offers a great opportunity for parents to find out more and talk with their school nutrition professionals about the choices available with school lunch. For tools and information, visit

Former Project Life: Positeen students receive scholarships from Kiwanis Club
Former Project Life: Positeen students receive scholarships from Kiwanis Club
Project Life Positeen Opening at St. Matthews K-8 School


10 Tips for Students Who Want to Make a Difference in the School Cafeteria

Tips For Students

10 Tips for Students Who Want to Make a Difference in the School Cafeteria

    1. Request a meeting with your school cafeteria manager to ask about current efforts to improve the menu and find out how you can get involved. He/she can answer questions about everything from menu items and preparation methods to waiting time in line. For more detailed questions, the cafeteria manager may refer you to the nutrition director who oversees cafeteria operations and menu planning for the entire school district.

    1. Find out if your school meal program has a student advisory group to provide feedback on meal choices and help with special events. This is your chance to get involved and have your voice heard!

    1. Talk to your school principal about establishing requirements for healthy concessions and fundraisers. Starting July 2014, all food sold in vending machines, a la carte lines and snack bars must meet nutrition standards, but foods sold in fundraisers and after-school events are exempt. Make sure your school isn’t raising money by selling junk food to students!

    1. Put some positive peer pressure on your friends, encouraging them to try the healthier menu choices and the variety of fruits and vegetables offered with school lunch under the new nutrition standards. There’s nothing worse than good, healthy food going to waste, but sometimes kids need a little encouragement to give a new food a try!

    1. Start a school garden. Students are far more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they raise the produce themselves. To get you started, check out USDA's School Garden Resources.

    1. Offer to host a fruit and vegetable taste test using produce from the garden, or to sample a new, healthy school menu item. No one can pass up a free sample, so taste tests are a great way to encourage kids to try new foods. Your school cafeteria manager may need some helping hands to prep and distribute samples.

    1. Ask for a copy of your school district’s local wellness policy and the process for updating it. This document establishes district-wide policies on everything from foods served in school to nutrition education and physical activity.

    1. Offer to organize a student recipe contest! If you work with your cafeteria manager to create contest rules requiring recipes to meet the meal program’s nutrition standards and budget, the winning recipe could end up on the cafeteria menu.

    1. Give your cafeteria staff some love! Participate in School Lunch Hero Day to show the women and men who work in your cafeteria that you appreciate their hard work to serve up healthy meals every school day.

  1. Don’t forget to get your school lunch! The more students who stop packing and start getting their lunch at school, the more money the cafeteria will have to make healthy improvements to the menu.

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USDA Foods Partnerships Celebrate American Agriculture

What do apples, beef and cheese have in common? These ABCs are all favorites with children and they are all a part of the USDA Foods program thanks to collaborative partnerships between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and American farmers and businesses.

In celebration of National Agriculture Day, today, we are sharing one way that the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provides high-quality, nutritious products to the Child Nutrition Programs through USDA Foods.

USDA-purchased foods have been finding their way to children’s lunch trays for more than 70 years. USDA has made great strides in this program over the years by increasing the variety and nutritional quality of the offerings to better meet the needs of schools districts across the country. “Buy American” is a guiding tenet of school meal programs, and USDA Foods inherently support this requirement.

USDA Foods are required to be 100 percent American-grown and produced. USDA Foods support American agriculture and industry while enhancing school meals by providing the nutritious foods kids need, including a variety of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables; whole grain and whole grain-rich options; proteins including lean meats, poultry, fish and legumes; and dairy.

States and school districts can choose from more than 200 options, which have been reformulated in recent years to reduce sodium, sugar, and fat, and incorporate USDA Foods into their menus alongside commercial products. On a given day, USDA Foods comprise about 15 to 20 percent of the food on a lunch tray and in fiscal year 2017, USDA purchased more than $1.6 billion of food for child nutrition programs.

“The National School Lunch Program represents one of our primary selling channels, a key focus for our growth as we provide nutritious products that support school foodservice programs and feed students throughout the country,” explained Scott Tomes, Chief Revenue Officer for Bongards Creameries, a small business dairy co-op founded in 1908 and based in Minnesota that has been partnering with the government for more than 70 years. “The USDA Foods program ensures that our students are provided healthy, nutritious, cost-effective meals, while ensuring the sourcing of those foods supports American farmers and producers.”

JTM Food Group, a family-owned and operated corporation based in Ohio, entered the USDA Foods in Schools program in 1992 thanks to a business opportunity from Indianapolis Public Schools. The school district was looking to provide students with pork BBQ using USDA Foods pork.

“JTM has always been proud to partner with USDA to produce products that are on trend and in high demand. We are experiencing the most incredible growth in our 44 year history, having just completed construction of a new robotic distribution center and 275,000 square foot production facility – with room for additional growth. Our strategic plan will provide employment to a significant number of additional jobs over the next 10 years,” said JTM’s Director of Education Sales, Carole Erb.

In addition to providing USDA Foods for the Child Nutrition Programs, USDA procures food from domestic producers for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and food for use during disasters. The USDA contracts with several hundred companies across the nation to provide the variety and types of foods that can meet the needs of the populations served by all of these programs. Foods range from traditional foods for FDPIR (bison, wild rice) to fresh apples for schools and hot cereal for CSFP.

While forming partnerships with American businesses, the USDA Foods program itself is a partnership between two USDA agencies: the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). AMS purchases products through a competitive process among approved vendors, while FNS works with state agencies to distribute the food.

USDA is grateful for vendors who are committed to providing quality American grown products to help feed schoolchildren from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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125 Herlong Ave. St. Matthews, SC 29135